No Constantine on Friday. Apparently it reached the end of it’s initial order last week and NBC won’t give it more time. So here then is my first official non-review Comics Nexus opinion column.
So, I’m Penny, and I’m all those things that the small-minded and hateful fear; a feminist, an activist, a “Social Justice Warrior”. No wait, scratch that, I’m a Social Justice Ranger with a few levels in Rogue and a cross-class bonus of Shadowdancer. I’m a *GASP!!!* girl who plays videogames and reads comics and fights for equality. I’ve survived being gang-raped in my teens, and gaybashed into a three-day coma in my late twenties. I’m 40 now, and I cannot be bullied or intimidated into shutting up.
So you can imagine how much fun my internet existence is.
Now before some idiot says “#NOTALLMEN” in the comments, I’ll pre-emptively nip that classic derail in the bud by pointing out that actual feminism is about true equality for everyone, including men, not about subjugating men or painting all men as evil sexist rape factories. Any woman who espouses THAT is a RadFem and not an actual feminist.
And I’ve gotten anti-feminist, misogynist abuse from women as well as men. Women who don’t realize the actual problems feminism fights.
So while yes, my columns and blogs and rants and activism DOES target a lot of men, it targets them because THOSE PARTICULAR MEN are sexist jerks spreading lies and misinformation to attack anything that threatens their privilege or their perceived entitlements. I have never nor WILL I ever attack every man everywhere as a whole. And I WILL target women who side with sexist destructive ideologies. I will never blindly give a woman saying stupid broken bigoted bull a free pass just for being a woman. My target is not limited to one sex or gender. I target destructive bigoted beliefs and attitudes that make life crappy for everyone. And I FULLY expect to get attacked and singled out for it by either naive people who don’t fully read it and misunderstand, and hateful people who will misunderstand completely on purpose to further their narrative. I’m used to trolls. I rebuke them with facts. And I hopefully educate the bystanders who aren’t yet on ANY side of the issues and looking to be educated so they can decide what they want to stand for.
I fight Patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ablesm, and any other forms of injustice, inequality and bigotry that are infecting the world, and I fight to make things better for EVERYONE affected by those ills.
So with that said, hopefully you have a base idea of my mindset, and an open mind to read what I think about things every week as I offer a Penny For Your Thoughts on various things happening in the world of comics.
Lady Thor Myths
Myth 1; Thor had a sex change.
One of the biggest problems with Marvel’s new Thor is the woefully sad misinformation being spread about it by people who just glance at articles about it and take away a completely delusional idea of what is actually going on. The most pervasive of which is that Marvel gave Thor a sex change. So much so that Tea Party Crackpot site Breitbart ran a story last week about how Marvel gave Thor a sex change because it caved into Feminazi pressure to offer more representation. And no, I’m not linking to it. I refuse to directly add to their traffic. Google is your friend.
So for any of you still believing that’s the case, let’s knock that off this instant. The character we all know and love as Thor has NOT undergone a magical sex change. He has become disillusioned by a personal failure and lost his “worthiness” to lift the hammer. The power of Thor has been granted to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON. A woman, whose identity is as yet unrevealed, was worthy enough to lift Mjolnir and was thus granted the power OF Thor. She becomes a VERSION of Thor, but the man actually NAMED Thor still exists, and is still a powerfully strong Asgardian. He just doesn’t have the big hammer that controls lightning or lets him fly.
So that’s Myth 1 about Lady Thor dispelled. There has been NO sex change. Thor himself is still Thor. There is simply a new Thor wielding Mjolnir.
Myth 2; This flies in the face of Norse Mythology
Another common point of attack against Lady Thor is sadly much like the excuse racists used to whine about Heimdall being played by Idris Elba. “But! But! Accurate Mythology!!!”
Let me explain several reasons this criticism is complete and utter bull.
First of all, there was NO fan backlash when Loki took over the body of Lady Sif for several years, effectively becoming a woman. Fanboys thought THAT was awesome. No one whined about misrepresenting Mythology, no one complained that it would “ruin the character”. none of the whinging happening now. Why? Because Loki is a villain, and most of the segment of comics fans that are indeed sexist idiots don’t picture themselves as Loki. Or at least didn’t before Tom Hiddleston.
But the misogynist segment of the comic audience DOES project themselves onto Thor, because he’s their ideal of how they see themselves; strong, manly, swaggering. Thus he becomes THEIR property somehow, to them. Loki they can share with girls because these particular fanboys cannot see themselves as the villain. But they DO see themselves as the hero, and thus creating a double standard where Thor is “theirs” and any changes become sacrilege. And they need to justify their indignation without having to admit they just don’t want to share “their” toys. So much like the proponents of GamerGate, they find what they think are plausible justifications for their hate so they can insist it isn’t hateful.
Here’s where this bull falls flat; Thor HAS been a woman. Clearly anyone claiming otherwise has never actually extensively studied Norse Mythology.
While not technically changing sex, Thor has indeed presented himself willingly as a woman IN actual Norse Mythology.
So there’s that. But also the claim that suddenly faithfully adhering to classic Norse Mythology is of utter life or death importance falls completely flat. Marvel has NEVER been hardcore strictly faithful to the mythology, and that includes adding new characters TO it, such as naming a specific female character “Valkrie”, or the Enchantress. Or Thor having a secret identity in his early days as Donald Blake.
Not pictured; Accurate Norse Mythology
Let’s also not forget the fact that other not actually Thor people have held the power and title of Thor, including a construction worker who eventually became Thunderstrike, and a horse faced alien, the ever popular Beta Ray Bill. And the vocal misogynist segment of the fanbase never took any offense to those. Even though, strangely enough, I’m pretty
certain that a space alien never became Thor in classic Norse Mythology. Funny that.
Myth 3; Changing Thor to a woman is a feminist conspiracy to ruin comics.
This is easily by far the most ludicrous and the most insulting thing the Breitbart article claims. That Marvel has only done this storyline in the first place because it’s caving in to intense pressure from raging feminist harpies to neuter “mens” entertainment.
First reason that’s bull? Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer is notorious sexist windbag Joe Quesada, who retconned 25 years of continuity to erase Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage with the reasoning of a frat boy who tries to ruin his friend’s happy marriage so he can have his drinking buddy back. He’s also the guy who caved into pressure from Tea Party bigots to edit out a factually accurate depiction of their ilk from Captain America #602, despite the fact that the part of the depiction they most took offense to is something they actually DO in real life that there is an overabundance of photographic proof of; carrying signs to protests with blatant virulently racist and homophobic signs. Quesada apologized for depicting them accurately and censored from all future reprintings that accuracy.
So Quesada is the last man who’d give in to pressure from feminist groups to do ANYTHING.
Also there’s the pesky fact that feminist groups HAVE been actively pressuring Marvel to acquiesce to the huge fan demand, among both women AND men, for a solo Black Widow movie. Pressure that has as yet failed to gain any result, unless you think the announcement of a Captain Marvel movie starring the Carol Danvers version, (whose costume my copyright watermark character is wearing in the header), is Marvel Films throwing us a bone. But even then, it’s a Widow movie everyone wants, and a Widow movie Kevein Feige is still refusing to give us.
So Marvel is certainly NOT prone to giving in to pressure from feminists.
No, Marvel decided to do Lady Thor because current Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso is smart enough to accept what so many comics editors refuse to; that more than half the market is WOMEN. It is a statistical fact that currently, more women than men actually spend ACTUAL MONEY buying comics, while more men are pirating them. Sound business logic says “appeal to the paying customers”. And the sad truth is that at least 80% of all popular superheroes are cisgendered, heterosexual white men. Women, gays and lesbians, people of colour and various ethnicities, and trans people are WOEFULLY under-represented. Women make up more than half of the population of the united states but almost every superhero team has women drastically outnumbered by their male counterparts, Alonso is wise enough to know that changing this disparity is good for business, and will expand the paying audience for the product he’s responsible for.
And the truth is, all these whiny misogynist idiots who are bitching and moaning and making all the decent open-minded guys who love comics look bad? THEY aren’t buying Thor. Sales of Thor had been slipping, even in spite of the success of the MCU Thor films. The jerk pitching the loudest hissyfits are also the ones spending the LEAST amount of money on the product. So why would any smart businessperson cater exclusively to them? They act like the IP somehow belongs exclusively to them, but aren’t supporting those creating it with purchases.
So the team on Thor, with Alonso’s approval, decided to try something new. And the only reason for it to succeed or fail will be SALES, pure and simple. They didn’t create Lady Thor because of feminist pressuring, they created it to try to appeal to the customers they’re actually making money off of. If no one buys the new issues of Thor, then Thor himself will reclaim his hammer and his title soon enough. If on the other hand sales go up, Lady Thor will stick around for awhile.
And that really is the long and the short of it. At the end of the day, comics are a business, and like any other business they thrive or fail on the loyalty and purchasing power of their customer base. The customers they actually make money off of want change. They want to be represented. They want to see themselves in the stories they read. Cishet white men have had that representation for decades. In fact they’ve had an overwhelming monopoly on that representation, just like they do in tv and movies and videogames. It WILL NOT KILL ANYONE if the ratio of that representation evens out a bit. Cishet White Male characters will STILL be the majority. They’ll just be a smaller majority. Letting everyone else get some time in the spotlight will not end the business. The world will not end at midnight.
Hell, last I checked the new female Muslim Ms Marvel is selling pretty well and the polar caps have amazingly somehow failed to immediately melt and flood the planet.
It’s sad that a loud and vocal minority of male comic book fans want to devote so much time and energy towards bitching about a fictional character. Comics are fantasy. They’re an escape. They’re not to be taken so goddamned seriously. Every guy I know who loves comics is perfectly fine with Lady Thor. Some think it’s awesome, some dismiss it as a publicity stunt. Some have no opinion either way. But ALL of them are perfectly okay with Marvel Comics doing whatever they bloody well please with THEIR OWN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.
The small but far too vocal segment of the fans made up of misogynist idiots? Thor does not belong to you. And if you aren’t spending money on the product, you’ve forfeited any right to make demands of it.
So let’s all please remember, it’s comic fiction. It’s supposed to be a fun way to escape the doldrums for a little while. So let it BE fun. Stop ruining everyone else’s fun because you personally dislike the idea. You’re not paying for it anyway, so if you hate it, just don’t read it. And let the rest of us enjoy seeing ourselves in the fantasy for a change.
Tags: Avengers, Avengers Now, Lady Thor, Misogyny, Sexism, Thor